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July 1, 2020

Senegal
How Remittances From Petit Senegal, a Diaspora Community in New York City, Build Wealth Abroad

The African diaspora sends more money to Africa than U.S. foreign aid and foreign direct investment. Petit Senegal is filled with thriving, tax-paying businesses owned and operated Africans, whose remittances fund investments in communities back home.

A black restaurant awning is pictured that says "Pikine" and "African Restauran" and "Fine African & Fresh Food." The restaurant is on the first floor of a light brick apartment building. A tree with thin foliage is to the left of the restaurant.

April 17, 2020

Nigeria
Boko Haram's Shekau Labels Anti-COVID-19 Measures an Attack on Islam in Nigeria

Abubakar Shekau, a Boko Haram faction leader, kidnapper-in-chief of the Chibok school girls, notorious for his grisly videos and brutal implementation of punishments of seventh century, Middle Eastern origin, this week issued an audio recording on the coronavirus, after a long period of radio silence. 

Two policemen are seen at the gate of the Abuja National Mosque, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Abuja, Nigeria, on March 27, 2020. The mosque's dome and minarets can be seen through the gate in the background.

April 10, 2020

Nigeria
Case Not Quite Closed on the Assassination of Nigerian Salafi Scholar Shaikh Jaafar Adam

While at prayer on April 13, 2007, the prominent Salafi scholar, Shaikh Jaafar Mahmud Adam, was assassinated at his mosque in Kano. At the time, the murder made a deep impression on mainstream Muslims, many of whom revered Adam. The murder took place in the final days before the 2007 presidential elections, and many observers, including those at the U.S. embassy, thought that the murder was somehow related. But it now seems more likely that Adam was assassinated by a vengeful former member of the Nigerian Taliban. His murder was an early manifestation of the deadly battles among Boko Haram’s competing factions that continue up to the present.

A man cycles past the Al Ansar mosque in Maiduguri. Four red and white minarets are visible around a green dome topped with gold. Person-sized arches line the one-story building around the dome and minarets.

March 10, 2020

Nigeria
How to Understand the Dethronement of an Islamic Ruler in Nigeria

On March 9, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state, through a unanimous vote of the Kano state executive council, dethroned Emir of Kano Lamido Sanusi. Soon after the vote, Sanusi was removed from …

Then-Emir of Kano Lamido Sanusi sits in white clothing with a sheer white vale and white turban, buttressed by a large, ornate, and maroon cushion, flanked by regalia.

January 29, 2020

Nigeria
Perceptions of Corruption in Nigeria Remain High, According to NGO

Transparency International (TI) has issued its Corruption Perceptions Index. As in previous years, its citizens and a selection of international organizations perceive Nigeria as one of Africa’s most corrupt countries. Nigeria’s ranking—146 out of 180 countries surveyed worldwide—is little changed from years past.

The sign of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), one of Nigeria's primary anti-corruption agencies, in Lagos, Nigeria, on October 3, 2016.

December 19, 2019

Nigeria
Sultan of Sokoto Responds to Sowore's Imprisonment in Nigeria

On December 12, the Sultan of Sokoto publicly said that disobedience to court orders is “a recipe for lawlessness and chaos.” He said, “We must regularly obey and respect the laws of our land. We should never disregard the laws to avoid the consequences. If a court makes a judicial pronouncement on a particular matter, it should be obeyed to the letter.” Though he never mentioned Sowore by name, the Sultan’s audience understood that the context was the State Security Service (SSS) invasion of a court room and the re-arrest of Omoyele Sowore contrary to court order.

The sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslims, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III, speaks to the media at the state house in Abuja, on December 27, 2011.

November 21, 2019

Nigeria
Abacha, Abiola, and Nigeria’s 1999 Transition to Civilian Rule

The 1999 transition of Nigeria from military to civilian, democratic government, is a defining moment in Nigerian history, representing the beginning of the longest, uninterrupted government since independence in 1960. But what exactly transpired during the period of transition, which began in earnest with the death of military dictator Sani Abacha in1998, is not entirely clear. Max Siollun, in a fascinating study of the period, Nigeria’s Soldiers of Fortune, has done us a service by illuminating some of the behind-the-scenes machinations of that period, and putting to bed some of the rumors that passed for history.

A supporter of Chief Mashood Abiola holds up a newpaper during a demonstration outside the family home July 10 to protest about the suspicious nature of his death.

October 4, 2019

Nigeria
The Legacy of Nigeria's 1999 Transition to Democracy

Commentators, especially outside Nigeria, saw the elections of 2015 as an important milestone for the country’s democratic development breaking the pattern of rigged elections. However, could it be that it was the elections of 2011 that really broke the pattern, and the elections of 2015 merely restored it? Were in fact the elections of 2015 much better than those before and after? Did the political classes determine that Jonathan had to go, in part because of the deteriorating economy and security situation, but also understanding that the 1998–9 bargain struck between the south and the north be restored? Will the bargain survive in 2023? 

Obasanjo walks past a cheering crowd in a white robe.

August 7, 2019

Nigeria
Attacks on the Media Continue Unabated in Nigeria

There has been a string of arrests of media personalities and suspensions of media outlets in Nigeria. Recently, some of the arrests have been related to support for a protest tagged “Days of Rage” and #RevolutionNow, against what supporters consider a failure of governance, but the harassment of media in Nigeria is nothing new. 

A man looks at a newspaper headline in front of a newspaper stand in Abuja, Nigeria.

August 1, 2019

Nigeria
Notes From Yobe State on Living With ISWA

From far away it is difficult to know what daily life is really like in an area controlled by a Boko Haram faction. Chitra Nagarajan, a journalist and author who has written for the Guardian (UK), among other publications, recently spent time in Yobe State doing research on gender.

A girl walks past a bull stall on the street in Dapchi.